Why can’t small businesses innovate?

by | Jun 3, 2013

It would only stand to reason that a smaller, more agile company would be best positioned to create the most revolutionary ideas. Well, this isn’t necessarily so. Lacking several key ingredients, such as money for R & D, available staff, and a lack of vision that big companies can make happen, small businesses have found that their challenge lies in learning how to innovate in spite of, and sometimes because of these facts. Research conducted recently by Erik Hurst and Benjamin Wild Pugsley of the University of Chicago called ‘What do Small Businesses Do?’ found that less than 50 percent of new business start-ups were born from a new idea. Moreover, they found that the majority of new businesses are essentially more of the same, offering an additional coffee shop, bakery or tax service to a marketplace bursting with these services. Very little innovation, greater competition, and little chance at exponential growth.

So how does a small business get from the morass of just another business to one that is offering new and exciting products and services people are clamoring to try?

4 Strategies to create a culture of innovation in your business!

  • Reward and encourage innovation – Give your staff perks and tangible rewards for identifying and helping to implement new and innovative initiatives. Creating some enthusiasm around finding new and better ways to run your business should benefit them also.
  • Know what your market wants and needs – Keep your finger on the pulse of latest trends and ideas within your market. Endeavor to not only sustain, but be on the leading edge, which is only doable if you are watching and listening!
  • Be sure to connect with your existing customers – Listening and taking into serious thought what your customers say about not just your business and products, but about what their wish list contains is extremely important in helping to understand a direction you might want to investigate. Keep the conversation centered around the customer’s problems, and make use of those to help create solutions!
  • Be open to new ideas – Don’t be afraid to try something totally new. A great demonstration of this in action is Behance.net, a Web-based platform for creative works, where artists can present their work regardless of their resumes, seeking to turn more ideas into reality.
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Clarence Fisher